Businesses in Crieff have claimed new parking rules introduced six months ago have caused them to lose half their trade.
A survey carried out by the Crieff Succeeds Business Improvement District (BID) revealed that a large number of traders felt the new measures had had a negative impact on trade.
The new rules saw the introduction of charges on-street within the town core, retention of charges in James Square, and the removal of parking charges from Leadenflower Street, Leadenflower Place and King Street.
However, almost a third of survey respondents stated they had lost 30 per cent or more of their trade in May this year compared to the same month in 2015.
Some companies stated they have lost up to 50 per cent of trade.
BID manager John Bray said: “They are all blaming it on the parking restrictions. Nobody has said anything great about the parking.”
Parking meters were first mooted for Crieff over six years ago and the new rules came into force after months of public consultation.
The BID team is conducting an ongoing survey to gather data, which will eventually be handed over to the local authority to help develop a means of improving the town’s parking situation.
Mr Bray said that of 27 responses already received from businesses, around a third have said that they have lost 30 per cent or more of their trade in May compared to 2015 figures.
To allow for other factors such as recent road works and restrictions in the High Street, the survey will run so that month-on-month comparisons can be made for the rest of the year
Locals have also been airing their concerns and ideas at community council meetings.
Suggestions include extending the parking times in the car parks so that people can pay extra to park longer than the free two-hour period and thus spend more time in town, and changing on-street restrictions from 9am to 5pm to 10am to 4pm.
Mr Bray urged all local businesses that may be affected to sign up to the CrieffSucceeds BID monthly newsletter.
There the link to the Crieff parking meter survey can be accessed and they can participate in the surveys.
And Crieff Succeeds will soon be setting up a public survey on its website so that residents can also give feedback.
A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said the new parking arrangements were introduced following a survey where 65 per cent of respondents stated that they would prefer the King Street and Leadenflower car parks to be free, with parking paid for in the High Street and James Square.
The spokesperson said: “Three options were then considered and discussed with the Crieff and upper Strathearn Partnership and their preferred option – removal of parking charges from Leadenflower Street, Leadenflower Place and King Street, retaining charges in James Square and the introduction of charges on-street within the town core – was implemented.
“We have received some limited feedback to date regarding the new parking regulations and will be continuing to monitor these arrangements.”